Following the American recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, there have been anti-Semitic demonstrations in many European countries. Particularly severe is the situation in Sweden: crowds walk through the streets threatening violence against “the Jews,” and both a synagogue and a Jewish funeral home have been firebombed. Bruce Bawer examines the reactions:
Svante Weyler, head of the Swedish Committee against Anti-Semitism, told the daily Aftonbladet that . . . anti-Semitism is, indeed, quite severe and on the rise in Europe—especially in Sweden—but, unless Aftonbladet cut something out, he was careful not to mention Islam. (That is par for the course.) . . .
Weyler [also] pointed out that “those young people who were gathered together in the synagogue [at the time of the attack] have no direct connection to what is happening in the Middle East or to what Trump does.” Rarely does a European Jewish leader—or anyone, for that matter—simply stand up and defend Israel.
It is not just European Jewish leaders who, in such cases, feel driven to draw a sharp distinction between European Jews and the Jewish state. In an interview with [another Swedish paper], a member of the city council in Gothenburg, [where the attack on the synagogue took place], lamented the fact that “Jews in Sweden are held responsible for what Israel thinks is right or wrong.” Such remarks, of course, imply, [first of all], that Swedish Jews, being Swedes, are surely too sensible and humane to agree in any large numbers with Israeli (or pro-Israeli) policies or actions, and [second], that Israel, by virtue of its supposedly provocative behavior, is at least indirectly responsible for anti-Jewish attacks in Europe. . . .
The attack on the Gothenburg synagogue may have been immediately triggered by Trump’s recognition of Israel’s capital, but it is part of a pattern of persecution and savagery that has [long] been in place, and that has been systematically ignored, denied, or played down by the news media and public officials.